The expert guide to buying a travel system
From car to pushchair, back to car – if you make lots of short car trips with baby, a travel system is perfect for you. Do some research into car seats first and see whether you need to buy the pushchair manufacturer’s seat or if several brands will fit on your chosen pushchair. Travel systems comes in lots of shapes, sizes and colours, so see our top tips for how to choose the perfect one for you.
Are you a travel system kind of mum?
Travel systems are the best choice for you if you:
- Make lots of short trips in the car with baby – to the shops, friends’ houses and the park.
- Want the flexibility of a lighter pushchair together with the versatility of a chassis that the car seat clips straight onto.
- Have space issues at home and a small or medium sized car; they can be quite compact.
- Use public transport quite a bit – these pushchairs can be quite light and small.
- Want a budget, yet long-lasting, option.
Travel systems can be a great budget buy, as you are getting a system that will take you from birth to around three years. Check that the cost of the car seat and any adaptors needed are included in the price and consider that you’ll probably need other accessories such as a raincover for the car seat, which may push the price up.
Look for a model that is light yet durable, as a pushchair takes a lot of wear over three years and you may want to use it for other babies.
There are two main components parts for a travel system:
This is the chassis together with a seat unit, which may either be fixed to the chassis (forward facing) or removable (and may then be forward or rearward facing. The chassis can be flat or umbrella folding (look for models that fold one-handed and lock and stand independently when folded) and all models here have a five-point harness and fixed or swivel wheels.
Look for washable or wipe clean fabric, good padding and a good range of back-rest positions, including lie-flat if you intend to use it from birth. Some seat units come with an extra apron and liner, turning it into a bassinet. Large wheels offer a more comfy ride, as does good suspension and look for removable wheels, too, for storage.
The car seat
This is generally a Group 0 (birth to 10kg) or a Group 0+ (birth to 13kg). Some can be clipped directly onto the pushchair chassis without the seat, some clip on top of the seat and others need adaptors that attach the seat to the chassis – look for the easiest method for you. Some models of car seat actually lie flat, making them suitable for longer use. Remember not to leave a small baby in a car seat for long periods – an hour at most. Look at our round up of car seats on pages 51 to 61 for more information on how to choose.
Remember that a small baby should lie flat for as much of the time as possible, so don’t leave her in a car seat for longer than an hour at a time, less for a newborn.
Mamas and Papas Urbo
This is a small and lightweight travel system that is functional, practical and has a modern, minimalist look. The chassis is light and folds very small and compactly, yet is stable and easy to push. The seat unit is reversible, lies flat so suitable from birth and despite the small size of the chassis, it is generous enough for a toddler in comfort. Add the carrycot to use from birth or for overnight (£79) or a car seat with the adaptors (25) for short shopping trips. The handle is comfortable and it's easy to fold, has a fold lock and is freestanding when folded too, so great for public transport. There are lots of coordinating accessories to choose from such as a cosytoes.
www.mamasandpapas.co.uk 0844 412 1212